I knew that there are parents who want to control their children but Eugene takes first prize. Both Jaja and Kambili are scheduled to do what their father wants and this starts and ends with prayer. Apart from prayer, study, sleep, there is very little time left for any fun, and although a TV and Radio are in the house these are off limits.
The sad part is that Kambili is not even interested in rebelling or even adventurous enough to know how the other side lives but of course this state of limbo does not last long. A visit to Eugene's sister opens another world - a world where everyone can freely talk, and no one will listen. It is a strong contrast to the pristine, almost clinical atmosphere in Kambili and Jaja's own house where only Eugene talks and the others are allowed to reply. Jaja's initial rebellion is met with dismay on the part of his sister, and retribution by his father.
Punishment by Eugene for mild refractions would be considered abuse and Eugene gets away scot free because his wife does not have the courage to stand up and protect either herself or her children. However, Eugene is considered a pillar of his society, a patron of both church and charity cases and someone whose largesse is given freely to all and sundry.
This was a quick read and I liked it very much. The lines between childhood and adulthood what is right and wrong, different ways, different worlds are all brought together very well in this novel.